Running from Forgiveness
©2016, Dr. Dale Goodman, PhD
One of my professors in my doctorate program at Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. Archibald Hart said there were three words he didn’t want us to forget. Of course, I like everyone else was very curious as to what this could be. I am not sure what I was expecting, however, what he said, has truly affected my life forever.
So here it is, three words I do not want you to ever forget: balance, balance, balance! No, this is not a typing error, these are the correct words.
As one who works with so many people in counseling, it is obvious we are living imbalanced lives. Three words that seem to describe life today are busy, busy, busy!
It seems we are a people on the run. There is no time to slow down, to enjoy relationships. We’re always on the go, always on the run and never content. We always have an excuse. Could it be that we have become a transient culture as a means for coping with hurt and pain in our lives?
Years past, it was extremely difficult for me to slow down, to make sure-fire commitments and to stick things out. When things got tough, I got going! After receiving Jesus Christ into my heart, I was confronted with a conviction from the bible. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
It never dawned on me how my restless, unsettled and transient life was a way of dealing with my hurt, anger and loss. Over time I have observed others with similar issues and it has become clear that most our busyness is means of coping. This coping will often lead to imbalance in many facets of our lives. Life may seem okay until we begin to notice and experience a breakdown in our health, marriage, faith and family.
We can only run so long from our losses. We must face the fact that our pain and poison will produce an outcome. Almost thirty years ago, I began to face this fact in my life. The continual confrontation of the need to forgive my mom began a journey of liberation.
As a child, I was extremely hurt by the loss of two wonderful parents. Both turned from God and it destroyed our family. Years later, it became clear it was time for me to turn from my pain and to forgive my parents.
As I prepared to travel to Indiana one weekend to see my mom, the Lord made it very clear, my journey was to forgive her. As this event did take place, I felt the lifting of a two-ton weight that has resulted in an incredible sense of stability and strength for my life.
We must realize the inability to forgive can have a debilitating and driving force of denial and diversion in our lives that will affect our health, happiness and holiness.
No one said it would be easy, yet until we reach the conviction to forgive; we will become the prisoners of our own lost war. Who has hurt you? How have you release it?
Are you on the run, feeling empowered by busyness? Some how, some way with God’s grace and power, we all must come to a point of releasing these feelings and truly forgive, letting go, releasing those who have hurt us. The results will be a freedom to be still, to honor God and others, to stop the running and to smell the flowers along the way!
Perspective: Forgiveness is a process where time can help heal the open wounds. It is a process that doesn’t have to be forever. Even though forgiveness may not be reciprocated, what is most important, is doing your part. If you need help in this process, please contact your church leadership or a biblically based counselor. We all need to stop being busy, busy, busy and strive for balance, balance, balance. You’ll be so glad you did!
Pray: Ask God to forgive you for any inappropriate ways of dealing with your hurt, to give you the ability and the courage to forgive others.
Persevere: What is keeping you from forgiving yourself? What is keeping you from forgiving others?
Passion: Jesus Christ died for your sins and has forgiven you, surely we can forgive ourselves and forgive others, too. Receive and/or recommit your heart to Christ. Release the hurt, anger and shame in your heart and renew your passion for the living, loving and forgiving God.
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Rom 5:6-8